Friday, May 8, 2009

Theater Review: Exit Cuckoo

"Nannies, Mothers & Kids: A Play Waiting to be Written and Performed"

by Eric Green

Nannies, mothers and kids. Economics and labor struggles. Benefits for baby caretakers. Gender/woman rights. Immigrant rights. Working class vs. Upper Classes.

Liz Ramirez and Colman Domingo's "Exit Cuckoo" is an amazing amalgam of all of those hot button issues. The first and dominant credit for this remarkable play is the writer and performer of the play: Liz Ramirez. Tackling all of the issues surrounding the issue of child rearing and placing each and every one of them in an interrelated and positive way is a real challenge. But, it is a challenge that Ramirez more than successfully achieves.

To her credit, Ramirez did not try to do the whole thing on her own. By working with director Colman Domingo as part of the play's team, she made another excellent choice.

The play is a tight and energetic 80-minute play and is performed without an intermission. That was another good decision by Ramirez and Domingo. A number of plays are being performed without an intermission these days.

In the "Playwright's Note" Ramirez says that it is her, "…hope that Exit Cuckoo will bridge the gap between mothers and nannies and will encourage us all to look at motherhood in a new context so that we an begin a dialogue about what it means to be a woman in today's world." She does not with room to spare. I would add to that the importance to the success of children making into their later years often stems from these early years.

A very simple, effective set conforms to the needs of the play.

The play is produced by the Working Theater, a company that has been around for 24 years and going strong. This play clearly conforms to the mission of the company. As the playbills says, the company's mission, "is to produce plays FOR AND ABOUT working people [the majority of Americans working in the industrial, transportation and service industries]."

The play continues until, Sunday, May 17, at the Clurman Theater on Theater Row theater complex on West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenue. 212-279-4200.